Don't shy away from this post because of the title, OK? Open your mind and read on. Did your mom ever make you salmon patties growing up? Mine did. My sister hated them (one of them has no tolerance for seafood at all), so I always requested that we have those for dinner when Megan wasn't around. I never really knew what went in those little nuggets of goodness, aside for some salmon (which I tried to forget came from a can ), egg, seasoning, and cracker crumbs. We always ate them with a squeeze of lemon and some sort of potato.
When I got married, I decided to give them a try. I was slightly repulsed by the contents of the can of salmon when I opened it, which was a big old mess that even contained bones. That was the end of that experiment for me, and I was content with my memories of the finished product. Fast-forward about ten years. I obtained a cookbook that was put together from the women of my Bible study and stumbled across a recipe for salmon cakes. It called for salmon in those nice little pouches (boneless, skinless, devoid of liquid) and a whole host of other additions that looked to make a tasty little dish similar to crab cake. I could get on board with this, so I gave them a try. They now appear regularly in our home, one of my husband's most requested meals. I'll share the recipe with my additions and changes.
-adapted from the Side by Side Cookbook
2 pouches of boneless, skinless salmon (5 oz each)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sliced green onions
1/2 c. red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. light mayo
1/2-3/4 c. dried bread crumbs, plus about a cup more for rolling
2 T. lemon juice (squeeze it from a real lemon, please)
pinch of cayenne pepper (try 1/8-1/4 t.)
1 T. butter
2T. olive oil
In a large bowl mix together salmon, eggs, mayo, seasonings, peppers, and onions. Stir in bread crumbs. It will look like one big, gross mess. Carry on anyway.
*Note: I have made up to this point many times, covered the bowl, and put it in the fridge for a few hours. I did this today. I had a meeting to go to that would cut into dinner, so I was happy to just have to roll and cook when I got home. We had dinner in 15 minutes. Nice.
When you are ready to eat, roll the mixture into 8 or 9 balls (depending on the size you like), and coat in extra bread crumbs (just put some in a pie plate or dinner plate). Heat 2T olive oil and 1 T butter in nonstick skillet and swirl together. Place balls into pan and flatten slightly with your spatula. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and hot. You can serve these as they are, maybe with some lemon and tartar sauce, or do as I do--place 2 hot salmon cakes atop a bed of greens and drizzle with your favorite dressing. I think something creamy is most appropriate here, and my top choice is this dressing. It has a nice dill flavor in it, so it goes well with the salmon.
I have been known to pass this salad dressing out to nearly everyone I know, so I usually buy about 5 bottles at a time. A little goes a long way, and my personal favorite use is as a light dressing on a shredded cabbage salad. Just consider it interchangeable with ranch dressing. OK, back to the point of the post--make the salmon cakes, but only if you like fish. They are good. I promise.